Bridgepoint bids for French optician

The European mid-market firm said in a statement it intends to acquire an initial stake of around 61% in Alain Afflelou and then seek to de-list the company.

Bridgepoint has made an offer for Apax Partners-backed French optician Alain Afflelou.
Bridgepoint made a €33 per share offer for Paris-listed Alain Afflelou on Friday through a holding vehicle. The offer values the company at around €500 million ($594 million). It is believed Bridgepoint will invest through its Europe III fund, which closed on €2.5 billion last May, if the bid is successful. 

Afflelou: will reinvest in new vehicle

The offer represented a premium of 22 percent on the closing share price on 23 February, the day before the offer was made, and more than 27 percent over the three-month average share price prior to Bridgepoint’s bid offer.
Through the acquisition vehicle, Bridgepoint will acquire a 61.1 percent stake in Alain Afflelou if the bid is accepted. It is believed that Apax will sell more than half of its interest in the business and reinvest the remainder in the new vehicle. Alain Afflelou will sell two-thirds of its current interest and will also reinvest the remainder in the new vehicle.
If the initial bid is successful, Bridgepoint will make a €33 per share offer to all remaining shareholders with the intention of a compulsory squeeze-out of the remaining shares and a subsequent de-listing, according to a joint statement.
Apax Partners acquired a minority stake in Alain Afflelou for an undisclosed sum in May 2000. The company was floated on the Euronext stock exchange two years later in a €66 million IPO.
Established in 1978 by Algerian-born Alain Afflelou, the French optician operates through 758 stores across Europe, of which 450 are based in France. The company reported €121.2 million turnover for the fiscal year ending in 2005, according to a statement.